On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic weapon on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, the United States struck again on the civilian population of Nagasaki.
The destruction wreaked by "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," as the bombs were playfully nicknamed by their caretakers, was nightmarish. Approximately 70,000 died immediately in Hiroshima, and another 70,000 died from radiation and its associated illnesses within five years. This was 20% of the population of this city. In Nagasaki, approximately 40% of the population died.
So complete was the destruction that the survivors may have envied the dead:
The appearance of people was . . . well, they all had skin blackened by burns. . . . They had no hair because their hair was burned, and at a glance you couldn't tell whether you were looking at them from in front or in back. . . . They held their arms bent [forward] like this . . . and their skin - not only on their hands, but on their faces and bodies too - hung down. . . . If there had been only one or two such people . . . perhaps I would not have had such a strong impression. But wherever I walked I met these people. . . . Many of them died along the road - I can still picture them in my mind -- like walking ghosts.